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Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: Is It Really the Least Understood Law in the U.S. or Just in Technology?

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act: Is It Really the Least Understood Law in the U.S. or Just in Technology?
Product Code - LGA149
Speaker(s): Peter J. Toren, Weisbrod, Matteis & Copley LLP
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The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) is the primary federal law governing computer use. Hardly a day passes without a news report that hackers have stolen credit card information or trade secrets from a Fortune 500 company. No sector is immune. The U.S. government is very concerned about these threats. FBI director Robert Mueller recently testified that hacking soon could replace terrorism as the FBI’s primary concern. The head of the U.S. military’s Cyber Command, General Keith Alexander, characterized the losses caused by cyber-theft as the “greatest transfer of wealth in history.”

In response to these increased cybersecurity threats, Congress is again considering amending the CFAA and a number of bills have been introduced that would increase the penalties for violations of the Act. Yet, despite this publicity, many outside counsel and in-house lawyers have little understanding of the CFAA and how it can be used to increase the protection of confidential information. For example, understanding the difference between “exceeding authorized access” and “unauthorized access” under the Act may be “razor thin” and may not seem like a big deal, but it may be the difference between obtaining or not obtaining federal jurisdiction.

Educational Objectives
• Better understand the current status of the CFAA
• Discover how proposed amendments could affect the law.
• Learn how to use the CFAA to better protect intellectual property and confidential information.
• Find out how the CFAA is used as a basis for federal court jurisdiction.

Who would benefit most from attending this webinar:

Lawyers focused on intellectual property, employment, privacy and security as well as in-house employment or intellectual property counsel.

Program Level: Basic/Intermediate

Peter J. Toren, Weisbrod, Matteis & Copley LLP

Peter J. Toren is an intellectual property litigator and a partner with Weisbrod, Matteis & Copley in Washington, D.C. where he helps individuals and companies protect their IP rights. Recognized as a leading expert in the intersection of IP and criminal law under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Economic Espionage Act, as well as other federal criminal laws. Author of the leading treatise on criminal violations of intellectual property rights and computer crime, Intellectual Property & Computer Crime, (Law Journal Press, 2003, updated 19 times since first published).

Prior to joining Weisbrod, he was a partner with Sidley Austin in New York City. Before that, he was a federal prosecutor, including as one of the original five prosecutors with the Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section (“CCIPs”) of the United States Department of Justice. While with CCIPs, he handled a number of high-profile investigations involving violations of the CFAA, Criminal Copyright, Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods and the EEA, including one of the first cases indicted under the EEA.

He has published over 75 articles, including Amending the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, Bloomberg BNA Electronic Commerce & Law Report, Vol. 18 No. 15, and An Analysis of Economic Espionage Act Prosecutions: What Companies Can Learn From It and What the Government Should Be Doing About It, (BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal, Vol.84, No. 2081, 884, September 21, 2012). He has also spoken at numerous conferences on a variety of legal topics. He is a frequent contributor to the press and has recently appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, CNN, Bloomberg TV, and the Guardian.

He is a graduate of University of San Francisco School of Law, J.D. 1985 (With Honors), Columbia University School of International Affairs, M.I.A., 1991, and Bowdoin College, B.S. 1981. Mr. Toren is admitted to practice in New York and California.

This program’s CLE-credit eligibility varies by state. Bloomberg BNA is an accredited provider in the states of New York, California, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia, and most other jurisdictions grant CLE credit on a per-program basis. At this time, Bloomberg BNA does not apply directly to the states of Florida, Rhode Island, Montana and Hawaii although credit is usually available for attorneys who wish to apply individually. Additionally, the following states currently do not grant credit for Bloomberg BNA OnDemand programming: Arkansas, Ohio, Nebraska, and Delaware. All requests are subject to approval once the live webinar has taken place or the customer has viewed the OnDemand version. Please contact the Bloomberg BNA accreditations desk if you have specific questions that have not been addressed.

If you have further questions regarding a specific state or how to file for CLE credit, please contact Bloomberg BNA customer service at 800-372-1033 and ask to speak to the CLE Accreditations Coordinator.

Hardship Policy
Bloomberg BNA offers a hardship policy for attorneys earning less than $50,000 per year. If an attorney wishes to take advantage of this option, he or she must contact Bloomberg BNA directly. For attorneys who are unemployed or earning less than $35,000 per year, a full discount off the price of the program will be awarded upon written proof of hardship. Attorneys earning between $35,000 and $50,000 per year will receive a 50% discount off the price of the program. Any attorney working in the public service sector also qualifies for a special price. If you have further questions regarding the hardship policy or seek additional information, please contact Bloomberg BNA customer service at 800-372-1033 and ask to speak to the CLE Accreditations Coordinator, or email us at

For more information about Mandatory or Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) requirements, visit the American Bar Association website at